* Warning: Naughty language ahead.
How to use Gruffness, Anger, and Authenticity when Negotiating Contracts and Relationships.
I recently negotiated a tough contract with a dishonest person and was able to earn the rights to intellectual property that I would have otherwise been unable to gain.
I did not earn it through rational exploration and mediation.
How did I do it?
I gave him hell.
What tipped the scales in this negotiation was not my intuition or creative style. It wasn’t my research or declaration of facts.
It was my unabashed, unfiltered judgment and anger that did the trick.
What did I learn? To become whole in a transaction, I might have to blow the doors off.
That said, anger is not effective in negotiating every deal. Anger is only effective in deals where we have a slippery adversary who has become too comfortable taking us for granted. In such cases, intentional anger returns the element of surprise.
Most of us don’t often know what we can ask for in a negotiation. We are so needy that we’ll accept just about any outcome, as long as we get a piece of what we want.
But our demands don’t have to stop at mediocrity. If we can be honest with ourselves and stop trying to appeal to others, we’ll become aware of just how demanding and critical we really are.
And that’s not a bad thing.
We all love to play the peaceful pussycat, resting quietly on the couch. But deep down, every one of us is a tiger. We often lose in negotiations because we’ve shellacked ourselves with slimy, dirty political correctness.
When I worked with the legend Fred Silverman—the only man to have run all three major networks—I witnessed unabashed criticism and unapologetic creativity. I never heard Fred offer up a sheepish request when someone failed to deliver on a contract promise. Fred was never sweet if someone stepped out of bounds. There was no room for imperfection.
You know why? Because every one of us knows when we’re failing to deliver on something we agreed to.
With one glance, Fred could see 20 imperfections in a graphic or diagram. He didn’t miss a thing—he’d trained himself to expect excellence from himself, long before he imposed it on anyone else.
This is virtue, and it’s almost non-existent today.
Whether it’s a creative project where we refuse to be honest with our contractors because we don’t want to hurt their feelings, or a contract negotiation where we don’t want to appear ungrateful, it’s our co-dependent patterns that get us into trouble. Whenever we undervalue ourselves and agree to compensation or consideration that is less valuable than what we deserve, we fail ourselves.
Do we really want to be mediocre…just so we can avoid conflict?
It’s never fun to look back on something we created and realize how we failed to do it justice.
Is it better to avoid a sticky conversation and live with regret…or buck up and dive into uncomfortable dialogue?
The answer is “No.”
Yet we do it anyway.
Many New Agers and spiritual aspirants tend to give everybody the benefit of the doubt—no matter what’s at stake. Whether it’s a relationship gone awry or a little joint venture selling buttons, if you’ve got a big heart (which is wonderful), you may not be comfortable being critical or demanding. When things get difficult, you might find it easier to give in and let go, rather than ask for what the situation requires.
When is the last time you were completely honest with a partner in the co-creation of a dream? When and where have you been raw, straightforward, direct, no bullshit, in your face, bam? How many of your responses and reactions come from your inner, New Age simpleton, rather than a first, honest gut-check?
We’re all guilty of this insanity.
In order to function in our contrived little circles, we put ourselves on a shelf. We bottle up our authenticity and relegate ourselves to only sharing sprinkles of it. We’ve become hollow shells with truncated souls. We’re half, if not a quarter, of what we intend to be.
Snap out of the dream you’ve confined yourself to, and come alive again.
Just beneath your society-pleasing mask is a technicolor spirit raging with power and light. Let her out, let her live—and watch her thrive.
Much of what happens in the New Age scene is numbed, passive, and indirect. It’s a contrived movement derived from a half-baked ideology that aims to negate the masculine and uplift the feminine, which is exactly what the white, male patriarchy did to femininity these past 5,000 years. The patriarchy oppressed femininity and instead worshiped itself.
Even when we seek eternal truths from local ashrams, temples, and yoga studios, we find that the they have been painstakingly watered down to appeal to the masses. The bite, the teeth, and the truth have been distilled away.
Anytime we want to confront someone at yoga, the local ashram, or work, we often strip our message of pathos in order for the receiver to handle it. When we do this, we feel disconnected from ourselves and unresolved within our emotional body. And by being weak and passive, we placate the other person, validating their worst insecurities and fears.
Why is fragility so revered?
Shouldn’t spiritual centers make room for anger and confrontation so we can all evolve?
Shouldn’t the assessment of our work and ethics be a little less forgiving?
Shouldn’t we be tested, coached, and encouraged to do better at everything we do, including being able to better-handle somebody’s shit?
We’ve forsaken ourselves and given up on our honest, gruff natures. I’m a big believer that being inauthentic has serious physical implications and emotional side-effects.
If we’re being honest and true in every moment, we see it’s not always white light and roses. If we’re paying attention to all the gurus out there, we should be accept what is happening, rather than avoiding it.
Life is comprised of white light, charcoal, and fire, all embedded in a stew of emotions, reactions, and projections.
It’s a messy business.
How do we get back on our authentic feet?
How do we become more whole and in balance with all of our moving parts?
How do we shake off society’s projections and limitations, and rise above them?
Be real with yourself.
Be real in every confrontation, discussion, negotiation, and creative exploration. Be raw. Demand excellence from yourself and everything around you. Take it all in. Embody truth and reflect it back to the world.
Our spirits know what to do. Bring all of yourself to the table. If you’re bitten, bite back—with love. Join with every ancestor who roots for you from the rafters.
Shout with them, “I am myself, a beautiful, wild creature! It’s safe to be myself—now and always.”
Author: Paul Wagner
Image: YouTube still
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock